Women are failing to get top roles at the BBC due to their lack of confidence, according to the organisation’s news chief.
Jonathan Munro, Head of Newsgathering at BBC, has said that male executives at the organisation may have been guilty of ‘unconscious bias’.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Munro said, “Appointments we made over the years were people hiring in the image of themselves. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.”
“I don’t think people realised they were being biased, but the evidence was pretty strong.”
Continuing he said, “If you walk around the BBC newsroom it’s a really diverse place, but you find some very capable women don’t feel confident enough to pitch for stuff that we’d really like them to apply for.”
Women currently only fill six of the top 15 reporting positions at the BBC, including senior newsreader Emily Maitlis, Scotland editor Sarah Smith, China editor Carrie Gracie, special correspondent Lucy Manning and education editor Branwen Jeffreys. Laura Kuenssberg was also hired as the political editor last year, becoming the first woman to hold this role.
The BBC is now offering its female employees ‘confidence training’ and increased flexible working opportunities.
However, Munro also admitted that it had a “real recruitment problem at all levels for ethnic minorities.”
He said, “Unless you recruit at a low level you don’t get that pipeline of talent coming through, and we’ve not cracked that yet. There are some talented BAME staff in junior jobs but we need to get them through the ranks more quickly.”